19:13 PM

How past injuries can tell 49ers, NFL teams what players to draft or avoid

San Francisco Chronicle discusses how past injuries can guide National Football League (NFL) teams on which players to draft according to experts including HSS sports medicine surgeon Scott A. Rodeo, MD.

Dr. Rodeo, who is also a team physician for the New York Giants since 2015, has participated in medical reviews that have examined the vast database of injuries from the combine from 1987-2000. Players who had anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery in college did not play fewer games or have shorter careers, but those who had meniscus procedures before entering the NFL played about two fewer seasons.

Dr. Rodeo explained why meniscus issues can be red flags for NFL teams. “Meniscus injuries often lead to progressive arthritis over time,” he said. “They are important shock absorbers for the knee. Loss of meniscus does increase the risk of degenerative changes in the knee. In particular, the lateral meniscus, which is the outer side…And we don’t have great solutions. Whereas with ACL surgery, the results are predictively good as far as the ability to stabilize the knee.”

Another finding that Dr. Rodeo highlighted: Linebackers and linemen who had shoulder instability that required surgery before entering the NFL had shorter careers, which, he noted, made sense given the “demands of the position.”

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